The Parish Church of Saint Nikolaus, the protector from the perils of flood waters and patron of poor people, beckons from a striking mountain setting, amidst the rustle of larch and birch trees. This church is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautifully situated in the northern Tyrol and is chosen, time and again, by photographers as a setting. It was established in a late baroque style in the years 1760 and 1761, and documents already mention a chapel in the same position in 1339. This landmark of the Obernberg municipality should, in any case, be visited.
The pilgrimage church “Mariahilf in der Kalten Herberge” is situated above the hamlet of Wildlahner, hidden in a forest clearing, approximately half an hour from Schmirn.
The origin of the legend tells of a shepherd having seen, on a blustery autumn day, a beautiful lady with a little child sitting below a large spruce tree. Full of pity the shepherd called out to her: “that’s a cold shelter you have there!” At that moment the lady with the child vanished. Some time later, it was believed that the shepherd had seen the Mother of God.
A wooden chapel had already been built there in 1730, and would soon be replaced by a small, stone-built church. Every year on 26th July (Anna's day/Saint Anne), as well as on 13th of each month from May until October, a large number of the inhabitants living next to Kalte Hergerge participate in processions.
The large Parish Church of Saint Josef, which was built in 1757 by Franz de Paula Penz, is part of the unique, historic places of interest to be found in the municipality of Schmirn; also of particular beauty is the graveyard with its ornate, wrought-iron crosses.
The interior of the church is boldly embellished by rococo stucco works and the superb frescos that were painted by the baroque artist Anton Zoller, native of Telfs, assisted by his son Josef Anton. The late classical period altars (1843) are resplendent in ceremonial black and gold. The principal altarpiece (the death of Saint Josef) was painted in 1843 by Caspar Jele, native of Ried in Upper Inn Valley and member of the Nazarene art movement. The rococo sarcophagus on the left side altar shelters the corpse of Saint Felix. At Christmas a charming nativity relief from Josef Bachlechner is displayed, remarkable, is also the Easter baroque grave.
A pilgrimage church (from the highest monastery situated in Europe) located at 1638 m, and the Minster of the servite order. Building permission was granted in 1409 for a pilgrims' chapel. Terracotta reliefs at the 14 Stations of the Cross on the old pilgrim’s route were created by H. Buchgchwender. Completion of the construction was noted in documentary evidence as being in 1429, sanctification took place in 1465 and reconstruction followed between 1621 and 1624; in 1621 the foundation of the monastery ensued with the classical nave, interior baroque altars, late Gothic Madonna with child, Maria Himmelfahrt altarpiece, the people’s altar with the Painful Mother, the ceiling fresco in chancel with a presentation of the discovery of the mercy images and votive tablets in the votive chapel.
The late Romanesque church, in honour of Saint Jakob, the patron of pilgrims and travellers, lies westerly from Gries amidst an idyllic landscape on a hill. A document from the Wilten Premonstratensian Monastery recounts that the wealthy Knight, Peter von Trautson, of Wipptal, who had made the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the year 1305, founded the church. Nowadays,the St. Jakob church is visited with great fondness by the pilgrims on the Way of St. James. The entrance door to the church is always open, whereupon direct access is through a locked grill.
The St. Kathrein Church and the castle chapel of Aufenstein, situated high above the gateway to the Navis Valley, look down upon the valley.
The gothic Church of St. Kathrein was built in 1474 from the rock of the erstwhile castle and converted to the baroque style in 1718. The oldest preserved and remaining carved figures in the northern Tyrol, a life-sized early gothic Annunciation group from the early 14th century, one of which is, unfortunately, not exhibited due to risk of theft, were the chapel’s most precious jewels. From the church one arrives at the chapel where, in 1909, wall paintings were discovered, which were, initially, protected by wood panelling. These significant early Gothic frescos were newly exposed following a 17-year restoration work.
The Parish Church Maria Himmelfahrt (Assumption of the Virgin Mary) is one of the oldest Tyrolean houses of prayer in the municipality of Pfons, situated on a Bronze Age era settlement ground, and was referred to in a document for the first time in 1311, with early medieval age construction over the years 1000 to 1250. It was converted to the baroque style in the years 1754/55 in accordance with the plans of the Viennese court painter Josef Adam Mölk, from whom the ceiling frescos (apart from the chancel fresco) also originate. The piece de resistance of the setting is the rococo High Altar in an Italian style, while of equal standing is the architecture incorporating columns with outstanding, mounted, white carved figures.
The mighty Parish Church of Our Dear Lady Maria Himmelfahrt, situated in the eastern bank of the River Sill and on the ground of the municipality of Pfons, is time-honoured. It is romantic in style and still exhibits Gothic architectural elements, despite its deeply profound baroque style. The ceiling frescos, which reveal Charles VI, the father of Empress Maria Theresa, are colourful. The venerated mercy image “Our Lord in Adversity”, a two-metre sized ecce-homo figure stands at the High Altar, while also noteworthy is the three-metre high, holy water well, composed of bronze and steel, which was constructed in 1996 by the artist Anton Amort.
The originally gothic Parish Church, constructed in 1425, is consecrated by Saint Jodok, a patron of pilgrims and roamers. Earlier, movement of goods and travellers would pass by here, which went through the Schmirn Valley, over the Tuxer Joch mountain pass in the Ziller Valley or over the Padauner Sattel to Brenner. The church was expanded and was converted to the baroque in style in 1783/84; the dome frescos and the High Altar images originate from Josef Schmutzer.
Almost like a mighty cathedral, the neo-roman Parish Church of Saint Erasmus, the Holy Helper, arises over the Brenner road. The High Altar and the three Altar images originate from the renowned Martin Knoller, a native of the market town. First referred to as a House of the Lord in 1337, it was expanded and converted to the baroque style in 1763 by Franz de Paula Penz; then in the year 1853, a devastating fire befell the market town, and the church was also consumed by flames. It was only thanks to the self-sacrifice of the parish vergers Anton Stockhammer and the Strickner brothers that the High Altar and the three Altar images by Knoller were salvaged.
The Church of Saint Georg, referred to in a document in 1359, was newly constructed at the end of the 15th century and consecrated in 1494. It was renovated and expanded in 1835. The Nazarene ceiling frescos, painted in 1890 by Georg Buchauer, were removed in 1941, in order to reveal the frescos by Anton Kirchebner, originating from the second half of the 18th century. The patron saint of the church is depicted above the door. There are three antiquarian bells hanging in the steeple, the oldest of which is from the year 1500. The Parish Church was renovated in the years 1986 to 1988.
As the notable master builder Franz de Paula Penz was responsible for some constructions in the municipality of Gschnitz, he was, therefore, also involved in the formation of the church “Our Dear Lady in the Snow”. It was subsequently converted to baroque style in 1755 and still entices many visitors today from near and far. It is also not surprising that the church is readily chosen by newlyweds for their wedding ceremonies.
The St. Magdalena pilgrimage chapel is perched on a steep mountainside 400 metres above the valley floor, between the villages of Trins and Gschnitz. The mysterious pilgrimage site was referred to in documents, for the first time, in 1307, as there was presumed to have already been a pre-christian cult site there. It is a fact that the Romanesque frescos from the period of approximately 1200 count amongst the oldest of the Tyrol’s mural paintings. Saint Magdalena can be reached in approximately an hour and a half hiking time from Gschnitz. Any effort made to visit will be rewarded by the unique location and the dreamlike view. Saint Magdalena inn is open daily from 9am until 7pm from mid-May to mid-October. Overnight stays for up to 10 people are readily available by prior reservation.
The striking twin-towered façade of the Saint Jakob Cathedral dominates the Cathedral Square in the north-west of the Hofburg (Palace) in Innsbruck. The cathedral counts among the most beautiful works of high baroque church architecture and the current construction was completed in 1732. The interior of the cathedral is especially beautiful and magnificent. Egid Quirin Asam carved the abundant stucco work in the style of the transitional period of baroque to rococo. The frescos, preserved in subtle colours, are dedicated to Saint Jakob. In the choir, the Saint is riding as a heavenly general of the Christians against the Saracens in Spain. In the transept, he urges devotion to the Virgin Mary, in the nave he enters as an intercessor, who would pray at his Altar in Santiago de Compostela for the suffering humanity. The shallow dome would later be expanded to illusionistically high cupolas.
The Wilten Basilica is a Parish and Pilgrimage Church in the Wilten quarter of the city of Innsbruck. According to legend, Roman Legionnaires of the Castle Veldidena already worshipped an image of Madonna on this site. The interior of the church is a frenzy of mellow colours, mixed with much gold and delicate rococo features. The ceiling frescos display scenes from the life of Mary, while the High Altar, with its four columns, is covered by a vast crown. The church raised to the status of a Papal minor Basilica in 1963. The Basilica Convent can be found next to the Basilica.